Bedbugs are rusty-red colored insects that can grow to the size of apple seeds. Bedbugs feed on human blood, but do not carry diseases. Infestations can spread among apartments when bedbugs crawl through small crevices or cracks in walls and floors. Early detection of bedbugs is the key to preventing a severe infestation. For more informa-tion on bedbugs, detection and information on how to treat bedbugs, take HPD’s free Bedbug Management course in English or Spanish or go to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Bedbug Portal.
New York State law requires that landlords hire only pest control professionals licensed by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to treat apartments for bedbugs. The pest control professional should perform an inspection to confirm the presence of bedbugs, locate and eliminate hiding places, treat the apartment with clean-ings or pesticides and make follow-up visits to ensure that the bedbugs are gone.
When calling 311 to make a bedbug complaint, the caller may be asked by the 311 operator about whether it would be acceptable for HPD to bring a dog trained to sniff out bedbugs to participate in an inspection. If the dog is not allowed, an HPD Inspector will conduct a visual inspection. Violations will be issued if the Inspector is able to visually confirm the presence of live bedbugs. Multiple bedbug violations in a building may lead to enhanced enforcement.
HPD's Canine Unit provides a special service for the inspection of bedbugs. The beagles, Mickey and Nemo, are available to assist a team of specially trained Code Enforcement Inspectors who will attempt to respond to bedbug complaints where the 311 operator has confirmed that the tenant would like to have the inspection performed by a dog. The dogs were trained at an accredited facility to alert by sitting when they detect live bed bugs or viable eggs. The findings are confirmed by visual inspection before a violation is issued. For more information on the Canine inspections, click here.
Beginning in November 2017, property owners will need to start collecting information about bedbug occurrences in their buildings. Information will need to be filed electronically with HPD beginning in December 2018 based on this information.